The lightbulb has advanced considerably since the days of Thomas Edison,
and today these simple devices boast features that even he couldn’t
have possibly dreamed of. One of the most popular technologies available
today are light emitting diode bulbs, otherwise known as LEDs. These devices
look and function similarly to a traditional lightbulb, but come in a
wide array of colors and intensities, all while using a mere fraction
of the electricity of their predecessors.
LED bulbs far surpass the popular halogen bulbs and are substantially safer
for general use than mercury-containing compact fluorescent bulbs. For
years, LEDs were cost-prohibitive, but today that’s far from the
case. For a cost that’s just slightly higher than a CFL bulb, you
can upgrade to a safe, clean, and extremely efficient LED lamp that will
last you up to ten years or more before it needs replaced. Entry-level
LED bulbs can be found at your local hardware store starting around $2.50
per bulb, with multi-packs possibly bringing the price down even further.
Some of these bulbs can even change colors via smartphone control!
How to Make the Switch
Of course swapping every bulb in your home over to LEDs can be a pretty
large expense, and why would you want to swap out a bulb that works perfectly
fine in the mean time? So for those who want to take the process step-by-step,
let’s look at where to begin.
Start with the rooms you use most.
The bulbs that sustain the most wear and tear from their daily use in
your home will likely be the first ones to go out, and they’re also
going to burn through the most electricity. Therefore, these are the ones
you should focus on replacing first. You’ll notice the largest energy
savings from this swap.
Focus on Long-Running Bulbs
Certain lights in your home are turned on and left on for long periods
of time. These are things like your porch light, garage light, or security
lights that stay on for hours, often overnight. These bulbs will also
draw a lot of electricity, and will also wear out fairly quickly, so you
should tackle these second.
Grab the Hard Ones Last
Not all bulbs in your home are easily accessible, such as those suspended
in a chandelier or high up on a porch light well above the ground. You
probably won’t want to immediately break out the ladder and start
swapping bulbs in these lights, particularly if you don’t have to.
So when one burns out, then you can replace it as necessary.
How to Shop for LED Bulbs
How do you know you’re getting the right bulbs for your home? LED
bulbs have a number of additional specifications that prior bulbs never
had to deal with, giving you the ultimate level of control over your home.
But what one should you get? Let’s look a little closer at some
of the terms you should know when it comes to LED lights.
Lumens: This is a brightness rating for your bulb. In the past, the wattage of
your bulb told you both how much electricity it burned and how bright
it was. Now, this is a more accurate measurement based entirely on light
intensity. Some brands will give you an equivalency measurement on the
box so you can fully understand exactly how bright the bulb is.
Color temperature: An LED can imitate all colors of the rainbow from red to blue to orange
and everything in between. While some bulbs have the flexibility to emit
all of these colors, most bulbs have one static normal light color. However,
this light color can vary, and it’s given in a “temperature”
rating, measured in Kelvins. The lowest temperatures have a golden, warm
white tone, while higher-temperature bulbs produce a cool, almost blue-like light.
Other Factors to Consider
There are a few other things you should take into account when determining
whether you should switch over to LED bulbs, and whether one is appropriate
in a given lamp. Here are some reasons you might
not want to switch a certain bulb.
Dimmers: Not all LED bulbs are compatible with dimming switches, and the ones that
are usually come at a higher cost. If you have a dimmer switch in your
home, you’ll want to make careful sure the bulbs you purchase are
compatible, otherwise you’ll probably just see your bulb flicker
and go out as you turn the dimmer down.
Enclosures: While LED bulbs don’t get quite as hot as their predecessors, they
do still emit a fair amount of heat, and that heat needs to go somewhere
or else the diodes will be damaged. If you have an enclosed lightbulb,
make sure to replace it with a bulb that’s rated for an enclosed space.
Outdoor use: LEDs actually work remarkably well in cold weather, unlike lots of other
previous technologies. However, they can’t get wet, and they are
somewhat heat-sensitive. You’ll want to make sure you get a model
that’s specifically rated for outdoor use if you plan on using it
as a porch light or other light source that could be subject to the weather.
If you’re having an electrical problem in your home, trust the friendly
and experienced Marietta electricians from Lightning Bug Electric to get
the job done right! Call us at (404) 471-3847 and
schedule your service appointment or receive an estimate for your project today.